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Tools for Success
By Daylle Deanna Schwartz, Revenge Productions
(more articles from this author)
2004-02-12
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I hear it all the time from musicians. "I don't have money so I have nothing to market my music with." While money does make it easier, I feel that the three tools below are equally, if not more important. And you all have, or can have them. You must start with GREAT music. If you have that to work with, use these tools to let people know about it. Then the music can be your vehicle.

Your Mouth: You all have a mouth. Use it to create excitement about your music! Talk about it to everyone. Network whenever you're near people. Don't be selective. I've gotten more contacts by talking to random people who turned out to know someone who could help me than by singling out the pros I felt I needed to get to. Networking is a skill you can learn. If you tell people about your music or what you need to get hooked up with, someone may know someone who knows someone. If you can get others excited about your music, you can begin to put together a street team. Then you have other mouths to spread your word. Below I have an interview with K. Banger, who's learned the value of word of mouth.

Personality: If you don't have a friendly, enthusiastic personality, get one! Force yourself to smile. People are much more likely to help you if they like you. It makes sense. So many musicians come across as pests. When you endear yourself to someone as a person they enjoyed speaking with, they remember you. When I was running my record label, I went to the UK regularly and networked my way through the entire music industry. I had label people take me to lunch whenever I visited. They said it was because they enjoyed my cheerful, positive nature. I had nothing more than many others had. And my money was very tight. But because people liked me, I got several records going there.

Professionalism: No matter what area of the industry you're in, professionalism attracts people. I don't mean suit and tie professionalism. I mean having manners, speaking with authority, carrying yourself with confidence, and being prepared. Don't write your contact on a piece of paper for someone who requests it. Have a business card. Nowadays you can make them in your computer or get them free at http://www.vistaprint.com/vp/ns/bcfree.aspx, - there's no excuse except laziness. Even if you're just marketing your own music, create a company name for when you contact people, even if you don't formally register it. Have something ready to give someone as a sample at a moment's notice. If you spark someone's interest, you need to act fast. Conduct yourself as a business would, if you're trying to make money. This isn't called the music biz for nothing. Your art is your biz, so take it seriously! If you keep acting like you belong in the industry, it comes across and you eventually believe it. Return calls promptly. Treat others with respect. Thank people for their time. That's professionalism!

None of the above cost money and they can make the difference between people taking you seriously or lumping you into the category of all the other artists they've never heard of. When you make a good first impression, it can set the tone for the rest of your career.

Reprinted with permission from Issue #9 of "Daylle's News & Resources," a newsletter supporting indie music. Check for Daylle's next Start & Run Your Own Record Label seminar. Click on Daylle Deanna Swartz (above) for more information and to visit her website.


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